Day 14: Friday, September 27

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Calgary: A City of Change

We were up at about 8:30 this morning, and again missed the hotel’s complimentary breakfast. We had such a great experience yesterday at OEB Breakfast so we headed over there and had a satisfying repeat experience.

We had tickets for a 1:30PM bus tour with CalgaryWalks & Bus Tours so we needed to kill some time before then. We were on 8th Avenue SW, so we went into the Glenbow Museum at about 11:00. The Glenbow had 4 floors of impressive exhibits. Most interesting to me was the third floor, which focused on the history of Alberta. We didn’t have enough time to see all the things we would have liked, so hopefully we’ll be back to the Museum again at some point:

We’d spent about an hour and a half at the museum and, even though we weren’t hungry, we knew we’d need to have lunch at a proper time as the upcoming tour was to be from 1:30 to 5:00, and there was no stopping for lunch during the tour. We were in front of Milestones on Stephen’s Walk (8th Avenue SW), so we had a light lunch there – a Caesar salad with chicken for the both of us.

After lunch we walked over to the Calgary Tower, as we were to meet our CalgaryWalks & Bus Tours hosts at the foot of the Tower. The tour was to start at 1:30. We found our group at about 1:25 and met our hosts Ken (van driver and co-host), and Freddie (host/guide/narrator). The vehicle was a small passenger van, and there were 3 other passengers on the tour – a dour couple from Norway and an odd young guy from Australia who didn’t say much of anything. Over the next 3.5 hours we criss-crossed Calgary on the “Calgary City Tour” and made several stops where we got out to take pictures:

It had been raining off and on all afternoon so it was hard to get really great shots. The highlight of the tour, though, was a visit to Gasoline Alley in Heritage Park to see the antique vehicles:

Our next stop on the tour was Canada Olympic Park, where the 1988 Winter Olympics were held. These days the Park functions as a massive sports and entertainment complex with ziplining, bobsledding and luge, among many other things. It was a gray day between the seasons when we paid our visit so there wasn’t much happening:

It had been at least 25 years since I had been in downtown Calgary; everything has changed so dramatically that I hardly recognized the city. This particular tour was a good one to take as it gave us a good overview of the city and we went into many of Calgary’s districts and neighbourhoods.

The tour eventually wound down and we were returned to our starting point at the base of the Calgary Tower. We said our goodbyes and thank yous to Ken and Freddie, who did such an excellent job of hosting us for the afternoon. Vince and I then walked back to the hotel to rest for a bit and plan our next move.

It was our last night in Calgary so we wanted a real good Alberta steak dinner before we left. With this in mind, at about 6:30 we went to a trendy steakhouse called Saltlik (101 8 Ave SW) which our CalgaryTours reps had recommended. We walked to 8th Avenue SW, found the restaurant and had a fabulous steak dinner (11 oz. steaks), complete with wine (no dessert though – no room for it!). If you’re interested, our TripAdvisor review of Saltlik can be found here.

Stuffed to the gills we waddled back to the hotel at about 8:30. We began packing everything up as we were to leave Calgary the next morning on a fairly early flight (Westjet, 9:30AM), so we needed to have an early bedtime. Checking the breakfast times for the next morning we saw that the hotel’s dining room didn’t open until 7:00AM on the weekends – that was too late for us (we needed to hit the road by about 6:00AM), so we decided we’d get a breakfast of some kind at the Calgary Airport. We set both our iPhones for a 5:00AM alarm (!!), went to bed early and hoped for the best.

Off to Vancouver tomorrow!

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